Nava say Nava

769186.jpg

Nava say Nava

If you're not watching this afternoon's Red Sox game, then congratulations, you have a job! But you also missed the latest chapter in one of the true feel good stories of this generally dreary season:

Daniel Nava.

The 29-year-old outfielder is obviously best known for what happened on the night June 12, 2010 when he was called up from Pawtucket and hit a grand slam on the first pitch of his major league career. He became only the second player in history to smack a salami on the first pitch he saw (Kevin Kouzmanoff is other) and quickly became the talk of the town.

The more we learned about Nava, the more we liked (for instance, the story about him and Erin Andrews), but sadly, he didn't stick. The Sox sent him back to minors in July, and while he did have a few more sips of coffee that season, he never made an impact, and NEVER hit another home run in 160 subsequent at-bats.

The following year (aka last May), Nava was designated for assignment, and passed through waivers without a sniff. As a result, he returned to Pawtucket, but you had to figure that was it for his Major League career. One pitch, one grand slam. And that's wrap.

That wasn't a wrap.

After playing through a full minor league season without a call from the big boys, and after just about every other outfielder in the organization was struck down with injury this season Nava got another chance.

On May 14, he started in left field for the Sox

. . . and hasn't left the line-up since.

Coming into today, Nava was hitting .324 on the year, with one home run (which came 171 at-bats after that first one) and 10 RBI. He's not making a case for an All-Star nod, but he's been all kinds of consistent, and played a legitimate role in the Sox recent stretch of victories.

He's taken this unlikely latest opportunity to play in the big leagues and run like the wind.

And that brings us back to this afternoon.

It's the top of the sixth, with the scored tied at two, and Daniel Nava drives a 2-0 pitch out of Camden Yards. A solo homer to give the Sox a 3-2.

It was the second homer of Nava's season, the third of his career, and for all we know it may very well be his last. But for now, the feel good story only gets better. If only Erin Andrews could see him now.

Oh right, she can.

Hi, Erin!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

red-sox-rusney-castillo-022417x.jpg

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

Click here for the complete gallery.

 

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.